Honolulu City Council Passes Bill Banning Guns From Schools, Hospitals And Other “Sensitive Places”

On Mar. 15, the Honolulu City Council passed Bill 57 that bans the public carry of firearms in schools, hospitals, polling places and more.

In response to the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court ruling of N.Y. State Rifle and Pistol Association v. Bruen which relaxed gun regulations to be able to publicly carry firearms, Bill 57 was drafted to designate sensitive places where gun carry is heavily restricted.

The bill designates 13 sensitive places wherein public carry of firearms is prohibited:

1. City-owned buildings
2. State and federally owned buildings
3. Schools and childcare facilities
4. Public parks
5. Shelters including homeless and domestic violence shelters
6. Places frequented by children such as the Waikiki Aquarium
7. Polling places
8. Public transit
9. Businesses that serve alcohol
10. Large public gatherings
11. Concert venues
12. Cannabis dispensaries
13. Hospitals

Moreover, the bill also requires persons carrying a firearm, in any interaction with law enforcement officers, to inform them that they are currently carrying and must present their license.

“Hawaii historically has had low rates of gun violence, and we need to keep it that way,” said Councilmember Tyler Dos Santos-Tam, Chair of the Committee on Executive Matters and Legal Affairs.

“Over the course of five hearings, we listened to the public and identified what we as a community would consider to be ‘sensitive places,’ like schools and hospitals. We also worked to make clear rules that the licensees could follow. Bill 57 is a step toward keeping our island home safe from the violence and tragedies we see on the mainland.” 

Council Chair Tommy Waters said the community’s health and safety is the top priority.

“While the Legislature is at its halfway mark in Session, we cannot wait for them to act.  There is no certainty that any State bills will pass, and even if one does, the counties are still able to legislate to protect their residents,” he said.

“With approximately 55 already issued by the Honolulu Police Department, and over 800 applications pending, establishing ‘sensitive spaces’ is paramount. This is an issue of public safety, and I appreciate the hard work this body has demonstrated to fulfill our kuleana and uphold the safety and well-being of our residents.”

If Bill 57 is signed by Mayor Rick Blangiardi, the bill would be effective beginning May 1, 2023.

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